Gig Reviews

Nemophila and Loudness in Shibuya

Nemophila and Loudness turned on the beast mode for a terrific night in Shibuya.

Nemophila and Loudness at Spotify O-East, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan on 12th June 2024

Musically, Nemophila and Loudness are quite different. But combining these two terrific Japanese bands for an evening of great live music worked very well.

Veteran heavy metal band Loudness remains Japan’s best metal act. They have the songs, the musicians and, of course, the out-of-this-world guitarist Akira Takasaki (a guitarist so good I named my son after him). Loudness is a headline act that rarely opens for anyone, but this evening the gentlemen in Loudness made an exception for their younger colleagues in Nemophila.

Loudness – guitar god Akira, lead vocalist Minoru Niihara, bassist Masayoshi Yamashita and drummer Masayuki “Ampan” Suzuki – opened their set with “Metal Mad” followed by “Inflame”, “Fire of Spirit”, “Hit the Rails”, “Pharao” and “Yamato Damashii”. All these songs are from the band’s post-2000 albums, proving that Loudness is much more than just classic 80s songs. They did, however. round off the set with three 80s classics in the form of “Crazy Doctor”. “In the Mirror” and “S.D.I.”. Simply splendid. The loud boys in Loudness are still kings of the hill and leaders of the pack.

Nemophila has only existed as a band for five years. Yet on stage, vocalist Mayu, guitarist Hazuki, bassist Haraguchi-san and drummer Tamu Murata are total pros. They are the best live act among the new generation of Japanese metal bands I have seen in recent years. They have got it all. They are top musicians who can also perform on stage. They have great songs with a twist, making them stand out.

Musically, Nemophila’s sound is intense, hard-hitting modern heavy metal built on a foundation of metalcore with plenty of growling as well as clean vocals, neoclassical guitar wankery and hints of alternative rock and cute J-pop choruses. It is a melting pot of influences that works well. Their lyrics are mainly in Japanese but with some sprinkling of English words and phrases here and there.

Nemophila opened their set in Shibuya with a knockout. “Dissension” got the audience going like the house was on fire. The non-stop bulldozer of a show went on in full beast mode with “Rise”, “Zen”, “Hoozuki”, “Back in the Wild”, “Sorai”, “Revive”, “Hammer Down”, “OSKR” and “Oiran”. The band delivered a terrific live show. Their many gigs over the past few years have made them an excellent live act. The band’s stage moves are inspired by old-school hardcore acts. It was non-stop action during the fast and furious show. They labelled it as a show being performed in “beast mode” and, yes, indeed, beast mode it was.

For the encore, Akira Takasaki and Minoru Niihara from Loudness joined Nemophila to perform the Loudness classic “Crazy Nights”. Seeing guitarist Hazuki performing a guitar solo next to the mighty Akira was heartwarming. She had a big grin on her face, clearly enjoying the moment. She pulled it off like it’s nobody’s business.

This beast-mode evening in Shibuya gave us the past, the present and the future of Japanese metal.

NEMOPHILA Official Website